Sony's Vaio S-series laptops are slightly thicker, heavier and more capable versions of the laptop we reviewed earlier in March. Our review model, the VPCS11V9E/B, includes a significantly faster processor, as well as an optical drive, and a graphics card capable of running games and high-definition movies -- features sorely lacking in the case of its Y-series brother.
Three configurations are available, starting at around £870. Our test model is available for around £1,120.
Emperor's old clothes
The VPCS11V9E/B looks pretty similar to its Y-series sibling, but its lid is matte black, not silver. This gives it a more premium look, although the contrasting blue finish on the area surrounding the keyboard is so unfathomably dull that you may fall asleep just looking at it.
It's just as well, then, that the keyboard itself is pretty exciting. Not only does it feel good to type on, but each of its keys (except, bizarrely, the spacebar) is backlit, meaning it's perfect for using in the dark. In bed. On your own.
Quick on the draw
The Y-series laptop didn't exactly rock our world with its performance. In fact, there wasn't even so much as a slight wobble. The VPCS11V9E/B, however, is better equipped to make our foundations quiver.
At its heart are a new-fangled Intel HM55 chipset, a 2.4GHz Core i5-520M processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and a gaming-capable Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics adaptor. All of this sets the VPCS11V9E/B up as a wonderful all-rounder, capable of handling everything from boring Excel documents to the latest 3D games.
Let it entertain you
The VPCS11V9E/B uses the same 13.3-inch, 1,366x768-pixel display as the Y-series laptop. On the one hand, this is a good thing, as the image quality is generally very good. On the other hand, the screen has the same glossy finish, meaning it can be difficult to use outdoors or in any environment where the lighting isn't perfectly diffuse.